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Swiss views and proposals related to the 10 year review of progress in the Implementation of Agenda 21  

In his letter dated 27 December 1999, the USG for Economic Affairs, pursuant to GA decision 54/218 requests the Swiss government to present its "views and proposals related to the ten-year review of progress in the implementation of Agenda 21, including its views on possible ways and means of ensuring effective preparations for the review, as well as its suggestions for the form, scope and nature of the preparatory process." This paper intends to respond to the USG's request.


After the accomplishment of UNCED, the success in the implementation of the Rio Declaration Agenda 21 and the Forest Principles has been mixed. The findings of the five-year review of UNCED at the 19th Special Session of the General Assembly in 1997 are both testimony to the imperfect accomplishment in the realization of the UNCED commitments as well as an endorsement of renewed efforts to attain the Rio commitments and to strengthen further the international, regional, national and local commitment to the concept of Sustainable Development.

.10 years after UNCED, Switzerland is of the opinion that the global debate on Sustainable Development requires a new impetus. This should be achieved not merely by an ex post review of the accomplishments and failures since Rio, but by a forward-looking process which builds on the spirit and success of UNCED, and which is both evolutionary and innovative.

.Priority should be given to a process and debate, which is country-based and regional-based. At Rio, countries committed themselves to elaborate in a participatory process a National Strategy for Sustainable Development, the so called "NSSD-target 2002". The NSSD process and the results achieved should be the basis on which substantive issues are to be addressed in a realistic and self-responsible manner.

Basic assumptions

The achievement of Sustainable Development should be the overriding theme for Rio+ 10, as it encompasses the interdependent triangle of economic, ecological and social dimensions.

While the program adopted at Rio+5 must be pursued, Agenda 21 remains the foundation upon which further progress towards sustainable development must be achieved. What is needed in an early stage of the preparatory process for Rio+ 10 is the development of a vision for Rio+ 10: What are the desired outcomes? How can they be achieved?

The Rio+ 10 agenda should be agreed in a process of consultations between developed and developing countries and with the active involvement of all stakeholders.


In Switzerland's view, only a well-focussed agenda will allow for satisfactory results. The following considerations might be useful to choose priorities:

Rio+5 was perceived by many countries to have a strong focus on environmental aspects. While countries must continue to protect the global environment, in particular by further developing the global environmental agreements, the economic and social pillars of Sustainable Development should be given more consideration in the Rio+ 10 process.

As at UNCED, Rio+ 10 should put a special focus on development aspects. In that context, poverty reduction should be the central issue to be addressed. The goal must therefore be a development pattern, which not only takes into account economic growth and the protection of the environment, but also assures broad-based participation and an equitable distribution of economic benefits.

In the same vein, changing production and consumption patterns remains of crucial importance, particularly for developed countries. The improved efficiency of resource use and sustainable energy could be addressed in this context, as well as issues related to freshwater .

Moreover, new developments on the global level since Rio should be taken into account. They present at the same time challenges and opportunities. Globalization, foreign direct investment, new financial instruments and technologies offer new means to promote sustainable development and address inequalities. Financing of sustainable development should be discussed in such a broader perspective. On the other hand, market and policy failures should also be addressed.

While the implementation of sustainable development mainly has to occur at the national level, global institutions play an important role in assisting countries to develop and implement the appropriate policies and measures. The further strengthening of the global institutions and instruments in the fields of environment and sustainable development should therefore be part of the Rio+ 10 agenda.

The implementation of the outcome of Rio+ 10 must be assured. In order to do so, suitable instruments should be identified and more emphasis should be put on a better co-ordination and integration of relevant policies. In particular such issues as institutional development and capacity building should be addressed.

The preparatory process and possible outcomes.

Institutional arrangements for Rio+ 10 as well as the preparatory process should be structured along the lines of those used for UNCED. Switzerland proposes that Rio+ 10 will be held as a World Conference at the level of Heads of State and Government rather than a Special Session of the General Assembly. At the same time, procedural measures should be put into place -both at the international and the national level -to enable a broad participation and active involvement of the civil society I non- governmental organizations, the private sector as well as scientific circles in the preparatory process and the World Conference. Switzerland is ready to include NGOs and members of the Civil Society into this process.

A political declaration of Heads of State and Government might be appropriate to capture the main outcome and to insure ways and means for their translation into action.

In addition to the political commitment by all states, the support and commitment of the private sector partners should be sought.

Venue of Rio+ 10

Given that Rio+ 10 should stand as a symbol of universality and international solidarity. Switzerland proposes that the World Conference be held in a developing country .

Conscious of the fact that the organization of a global conference demands important financial means, Switzerland also suggests that industrialized countries as well as other countries in a position to do so assist in funding the preparatory process as well as the holding of the World Conference. Switzerland for its part would be prepared to make such a contribution.